Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined a growing Democratic chorus on Sunday, calling on the Senate to abolish the filibuster in order to codify Roe v. Wade into law following the Supreme Court’s refusal to block Texas’ new draconian abortion ban.
With conservatives holding a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, fears that abortion could again be left to the states to decide on inched closer to reality after the court declined to step in and stop S.B. 8, the new Texas law that prohibits Texas women from getting an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy—before many women even know they are pregnant and well before the roughly 20-week fetal viability standard established by Roe.
The Texas law essentially deputizes private citizens to seek out bounties on anyone who “aids or abets” a woman seeking an abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The Court majority said that because citizens rather than government agencies were involved here , it could not intervene.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Klobuchar said that while she hoped the highest court in the land wasn’t on track to overturn Roe, she warned that the signs all point to them soon overturning the landmark abortion case.
“In the past when they had cases that were so blatantly against Roe v. Wade, they would stay those cases when such requests came up. They did it with another Texas law. They did it in 2015. They did it in 2019,” she exclaimed “And, so, here you have them this year, this week, basically telling women in Texas that 85 percent of them seeking abortion services cannot exercise their constitutional rights.”
The Minnesota lawmaker added: “And they know very well that there are over 500 laws that are messing around with this, and you’re going to see cases just like this come before them. They did it at midnight with just less than 72 hours of debate, in Justice Kagan’s words. And basically greenlighted a law that is blatantly against Roe v. Wade.”
Asked by anchor Dana Bash what Democrats in Congress can do to protect abortion rights now that the Texas law has been allowed to take effect, for the time being, Klobuchar noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is bringing a House bill up to vote that will guarantee abortion access. “This ban necessitates codifying Roe v. Wade,” Pelosi said in response to the Texas law.
Bash, however, pointed out that the filibuster will likely kill the bill in the Senate, since there likely aren’t 60 senators who will support it. Klobuchar, meanwhile, pointed to eliminating the filibuster altogether—a movement that has grown among Democrats in recent months as a way to pass voting-rights legislation and other items on President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“My solution to this—which is my solution for voting rights and so many other things, including climate change, where one side of the country is in flames, the other side of the country is flooded with people dying submerged in their cars—I believe we should abolish the filibuster,” the Democratic senator declared.
“I do not believe an archaic rule should be used to allow us to put our heads in the sand, to use Justice Sotomayor’s words, to put our heads in the sand and not take action on the important issues, the challenges that are facing our country right now, now and over the next years,” she continued. “We just will get nowhere if we keep this filibuster in place.”
Klobuchar also noted that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a conservative Democrat who has been opposed to eliminating the filibuster, has expressed support for a so-called “standing” filibuster in which lawmakers would have to take to the Senate floor and speak non-stop for hours (or even days) in order to block further legislative action.
The former presidential candidate went on to say that she is also still open to the idea of expanding the size of the Supreme Court. At the same time, she acknowledged that she doesn’t believe the court will be changing any time soon, noting that this is the reason she feels the “best thing is to get rid of the filibuster.”
Bash also asked Klobuchar if she still felt Justice Stephen Breyer—a liberal member of the Supreme Court who is now 83 years old—should consider retiring in the near future, prompting the senator to renew her call for him to step down.
“If this decision doesn't cry out for that, I don't know what does,” she replied. “I think if he's gonna do it, sooner rather than later.”